Country Living

My partner and I are thinking of moving to rural North Dakota to teach. I teach high school science while my partner teaches middle school. We would both like to teach in the same district. Do you have any advice on how we should proceed?
—A., Missouri


Unpacking your question, I actually see several facets that can be touched upon: teaching in a rural setting; living in the country; finding jobs together.

A rural school can be quite different from one in the city. Some schools are small and teachers often teach many subjects, including ones outside their expertise. Classes may be smaller, perhaps even multi-grade. Teachers frequently know every student, possibly having them in class many times over several years. However, many rural schools, particularly high schools, may be large and bus in students from many communities. There may also be greater parent and community involvement. In northern states, many students will miss classes during snow storms. You will have to be flexible and adapt lessons accordingly.

Don’t overlook the change in lifestyle. Living in the country usually means commuting and sometimes being far away from many of the shopping, entertainment, and dining options you may be used to, although local diners can be great places to meet new neighbors. If you purchase a home you will probably develop some good do-it-yourself skills and become a snow clearing expert. Property taxes tend to be lower in rural areas and you will have access to farm-fresh products. I was amazed just how quickly news spread around the community, so privacy did not seem to be as great as in the city!

Finding a job with your partner in the same district can be more challenging as there are usually more opportunities in an urban district than a rural one. Contact the local teachers’ association for advice on job prospects and how best to approach the district. My guess is that rural districts like having couples and families in their employment —they are more likely to settle down for the long haul and get involved in the community.

Good luck!

Hope this helps!


Photo Credit: WinterforceMedia

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